Bob is in the yard when I pull into the driveway, his passion evident as he trims away two weeks worth of growth before he has been home a full 24 hours. We hug and smile and chat... and then my mother appears, her feet jigging with impatience, feet tapping out my turn, my turn!
And then we are entwined.
Arms wrapped around, faces buried in shoulders. I can feel my face smiling, and my eyes filling. And the wondering if a two hour round trip was ridiculous no longer exists. I would have come this far for her embrace alone. But there is more. Trinkets and stories and photos and movie clips that cause laughter to tears, and tears alone.
We sit by her computer and I walk along the dusty red path with her. She loves her new camera and so do I... Africa brought to life before my eyes in such startling detail. The wiry bristles that cover a dusty red elephant, and the ribbons of mudwater that suspend in the air. The pattern and loft of magnificent feathers and the fluff of brown and white stripes on a baby zebra. I reach out and leave my prints on her screen... unable to be kept at arms length. As we travel through their trip, I am there. In the vehicle, looking over the rim, in her heart. I am not flipping though photos on a screen, but following in their footprints, walking along side.
And when we come to the fishing village, and the men are pulling up the nets, I pass by a movie clip. She insists that I go back. She must have known.
It breaks the last of me. My breath comes short and the tears run rivers, past the ache in my chest. This is my opera. The rhythmic Swahili voice that sing-songs along high and low, and passes right through my soul, though I cannot tell the words. It is not what you say, but how you say it... and this comes in notes of joy and sorrow, hard work and worth. And when I, at last, wipe the tears away, I am only surprised that there is not sand under my shoes...